Challenges in Tuberculosis Clinical Trials in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Sponsor's Perspective

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020 May 27;5(2):86. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed5020086.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unforeseen and extreme changes in societal and health system functioning not previously experienced in most countries in a lifetime. The impact of the pandemic on clinical trials can be especially profound given their complexities and operational requirements. The STREAM Clinical Trial is the largest trial for MDR-TB ever conducted. Currently operating in seven countries, the trial had 126 participants on treatment and 312 additional participants in active follow up as of March 31, 2020. Areas of particular concern during this global emergency include treatment continuity, supply chain management and participant safety monitoring. This commentary highlights some of the challenges faced due to the pandemic and the steps taken to protect the safety of trial participants and the integrity of the trial.

Keywords: COVID-19; MDR-TB; clinical trials.